August 30, 2022 by Michael Davis No Comments


Stirring up the homemade Beef Stock



Whether you are coming in from the chill of the autumn air a snow shower or a spring rain a bowl of soup can be such a satisfying warming for your body.  The idea of a hearty bowl of tomato, chicken noodle or rich cream of broccoli brings comforting thoughts. 

While the satisfying thoughts of a bowl of soup brings the anticipation of its consumption the nutritional and financial benefits from making your own soups can be just as rewarding.

Soup can be categorized into 4 categories:

clear, thickened, cream and chowders, and others.  Then can also be defined culturally and regionally through tradition steeped in flavor.

Types of soup

  • Clear, broth or stock
  • These clear soups aren’t defined by whatbis in them so much is what isn’t in them. Clear soups are made of a seasoned stock that has ingredients I. Them we will call auxiliary ingredients.
  • Auxiliary ingredients are ones that are part of the soup.  For example chicken noodle soup traditionally has celery, carrots and onions in it along with chicken and noodles. There may be seasonings as well.
  • Clear soups wouldn’t have thickeners like roux, cornstarch, tapioca or other thickeners.  Clear soups also wouldn’t have cream or dairy.
  • Examples of a clear soup: Chicken noodle, chicken and rice, beef barley, Italian wedding
A bowl of delicious beef and barley soup with carrots, tomato, potato, celery, and peas.

Beef Barley Soup

Cooking Fundamentals - Soup

potato leek soup

A hearty bowl of Ham and Split Pea Soup

Ham and Split Pea Soup


Thickened soups are composed of a seasoned stock that has been thickened by a thickening agent.  Those thickening agents could be: roux, cornstarch, tapioca, pureed potato or other vegetable.

A Thickened soup may also have auxiliary ingredients which are ingredients that are added to compliment the recipe. 

Common thickening agents:

Roux- butter and flour mixture, cooked or raw

Cornstarch slurry- cornstarch dissolved In cold liquid

Pureed starch, vegetable or legume- examples of this might potato, nuts such as chestnuts or almonds, beans (kidney, garbanzo etc.)

NOTE: to produce a thickened gluten free soup use a gluten free stock or base thickened with one of the 3rd options or a gluten free cornstarch.  Not all cornstarch are considered gluten free.  Use an immersion blender for best results
Examples of thickened soups:  potato, lentil,



A cream soup is typically a thickened soup with the addition of cream.  While cream soups can be thickened they don’t have to be.  Oyster stew is an example of a cream soup that isn’t thickened


A chowder can is often identified by the common ingredients they have in them.  Those ingredients are typically celery, onions, potato.

Examples of chowder: New England Clam Chowder, Manhattan Clam Chowder, Corn Chowder, Fish or seafood Chowder,  


Soups are a great vessel that can be a contributor to healthy eating.  While not all soups would be considered “healthy" as defined by a lower fat and calorie option.  Many soups are filled with vegetables and lean proteins if combined with whole grains such as barley, wild or brown rice, buckwheat soba noodles and a broth style soup eaten at an average pace that isnt rapid which can be assisted by a hot temperature of 180 – 190 degrees.

This style of soup can be nutrient packed combined with fiber and protein accompanied by a low fat and calorie content make them a delicious resource for a tool to aid in nutritional eating.


President Truman said the buck stops here.  Although he may have been referring to his style of leadership to owning a country’s concerns we can refer to this when talking about money spent with many soups. 

Soups can be made with great flavor, fullness and financial efficiency.  While there are many elaborate and exotic soups that are both wonderful and flavorful that are costly there are a great number of soups that are equally wonderful and flavorful that are very budget worthy.

 After all the nature origins of soups is from national and ethnic heritage to feed people typically from a pot with the ingredients at hand.  What we benefit from is years of finding soups with tried and true results that call some classics while others innovative creations.

 At its simplest form you will start with a stock, (thicken or not), add some veg, protein and starch. Simmer and adjust seaonings, and there you have it soup.

Where it becomes reasonable is when you use bones from a chicken dinner, and vegetables that you have but haven’t purchased special.  Pulling meat from the bones gives you your protein while nutrients from stock, vegetables, protein add a whole grain for nutrition like, barley or brown rice.  Both reasonable cost, filling to your stomach and nutritional for your health.


There is something satisfying and heart warming about soup.  Beyond the actual temperature hot soups are consumed at the soul seems warmed when someone presents you with a homemade or even canned bowl of soup when retreating from the epic cold of a February snowstorm or chilled fall rain.

The soul seems to be touched by a caring heart, embraced by a tender concern or cared by a loved one.  Maybe it is the satisfying flavors absorbed by a crusty dipped baguette accompanied by a warm smile.  The soul seems warmed by a tasteful bowl of soup


A regional soup will be more specific to an area or region while an ethnic soup is more closely associated with a  particular nationality.  Regional soups are more closely associated to a group of people in an area.  These soups can also be associated to very small areas within a state, county, province or country.

The area or region may have an abundance of a specific ingredient with particular likes and interest of a close knit group of people.  They may have resulted from commonality from common trade such as coal mining, fishing, farming, lumberjacking lumberjacks etc.

They likely came through because of our inert desire to socialize and fellowship bearing one anothers burdens and sharing the joyful success of a recipe using common ingredients within there local.


New England Clam chowder, although eaten world-wide is most closely associated with the New England states of: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

Manhattan Clam Chowder is most closely associated with the area of New York City known as Manhattan.


Ethnic foods or soups may have similar bonds as regional through ethnic bonds within a domain or Provence. Certainly, the Italian culture of Italy before people became more transient would have been primarily Italians in Italy, French in France, Irish in Ireland, Jewish in Israel and so on.

An ethnic food while regional may also be an ethnic food which is relocated along with a transient people moving from a countey to another.  This is one of the great rewards we have in America feom a culinary perspective from Ethnic culture in a mobile optimized world.

In populated areas you have the likelihood to have extremely diverse

And available foods.  

Some classsic ethnic soups are:

Italian: Italian wedding


Ireland:  Potato Leek

Scotland: Scotch Barley                  

French: French onion

Germany: Flaedle

Austria: Tomato Viennese

Russia: Borscht

Indian: Mulligatawny

Greek: Spinach and orzo

Spain: Caldo Gallego



         Hot and Sour-stock with ribbon cut dried mushrooms, meat of pork or chicken strips, tofu, bamboo shoots, chili pepper, soy, vinegar and           scallions

     Wonton- broth, usually chicken with the addition of stuffed wontons folded. The wontons are usually stuffed with a meat mixture, pork and shrimp make popular fillings.  The square wonton gets a drop of meat filling, then is folded to a triangle.  The opposite corners pinched and then cooked and served broth.

    Shark fin- a classic Chinese soup, shark fin is soaked, cooked rinsed and strained as a component in the soup.  The fin actually gives viscosity or thickness to the soup.  It is accompanied by chicken broth, pork snow peas


     miso soup is an umami or savory Japanese broth with the addition of dashi, which is fermented soybeans.  Likely other vegetables and ingredients might compliment the popular flavor

Noodle bowls – are great fun soups that not only provide ethnic thumbprint on recipes, they show regional design and variety

Korea: Janchi Guksu (noodle soup)

Thailand: Thai noodle

Vietnam: Pho noodle

Australian: Cream of Carrot and Honey

Middle Eastern:

Israel: matzo ball

Saudi Arabia- Shorba

Africa: Peanut and Chicken

South America:

          Brazilian Moqueca (Fish Stew)

          Columbian Puchero

North America: chicken noodle

                             Cream of Broccoli

Gluten free-

which can be someone with celiac disease who has a level of allergy towards gluten.  Gluten can be prevalent in soup bases.  There are some bases that do not have gluten in them.

To make gluten free soups use either a homemade stock (which is the best option anyway) or a gluten free base.  You will need to make sure that you don’t use anything in the soup with flour or roux.  

These would likely be a thickener or as part of a breading for something in the soup.  While other soups may lend well to this, keeping it gluten free will require that you do not use these items.

To thicken a gluten free soup, you can puree some of the items in the soup. Broccoli, other vegetables, use potatoes as a thickener by blending with an immersion blender.